Social Media can definitely be a downer for a lot of reasons: it’s a huge time suck, it requires a seemingly superhuman commitment and it’s introduced some new mental health concerns. You want the bad news first? As a business owner it’s almost impossible to avoid this powerful tool. Traditional forms of marketing are still relevant, but social media is really the place to be for many of us. So how do we just walk away from a platform that could increase sales, brand awareness and help propel us into the marketing stratosphere? Well… we don’t. Here’s the good news. I spend more time than anyone I know on social media, and over the past 3 years, I’ve had many conversations with peers and tried lots of ways to manage my fatigue with social media. Here is how to stay sane(ish) while wrestling social media on the daily.
You are the boss.
This little device we carry in our hands is not the boss of us, it's meant to serve a purpose. Mostly it should be making our lives easier, more efficient and super convenient. It's important to manage your notifications and prioritize apps that send persistent notifications based on the urgency of the task. For example, I don't receive email notifications on my phone because 99% of my emails require me to be at my computer to address them, for this reason, I make a habit to check my emails periodically throughout the day when I am at my desk. On the flip side Facebook/Instagram notifications I consider customer service, so I am notified in real time so I can respond in a timely manner.
Take breaks, take time.
No matter how well you manage your phone sometimes you just need a break. It's important to recognize that we are physical and emotional beings that require some basics: food, water, sunlight, etc. Using a timer app to remind you to stand up and give your eyes a break from your screen can be helpful. One thing I like to do is separate when I am creating content from when I am consuming content. For example, when I am writing copy or arranging art I typically have all social media (and messenger apps) turned off. I find it easier to be creative when I am not being interrupted or distracted by the never-ending temptation to scroll, scroll, scroll.
Eating a large meal especially high in carbs can be detrimental to writing, most writers I know prefer to do the bulk or first draft on a near empty stomach.
In Real Life.
One of the best things you can do to give yourself a break from social media is to get off your devices. Spending time in nature, especially during our short summer months, can be a super brain boost and get you quickly recharged. Also, ask someone for lunch/coffee or even a phone call instead of using a messenger app. Our bodies are an ocean of chemical reactions and it's important to give yourself some time to decompress and relax. Engage your senses and take time to experience the world in three dimensions. There are two ways you can define technology-free zones, with time and space. For example, you may decide that during your lunch hour you turn your phone off and enjoy the company of others, this is defining a time. I personally choose to never have my phone on at the dog park, this is defining space.
Relax, be human.
Lots of people think that if you don't post for a couple of days or weeks that the algorithm will get angry with you. In my experience, it's more important to be creating relevant interesting content than pushing out crap that no one cares about. Good content is good content. Period. The best way around needing to take time off is planning a killer content schedule or hiring someone to help with your social media. Having a great strategy will help you function from a place of intention without being reliant on passion to keep things on track.
If you decide to take a week off from social media as a business don't announce it, I promise you literally NO ONE will notice. Just enjoy a few days away and come back refreshed.
Your phone is your office.
As the world changes and our workplaces become more mobile it's important to recognize that our office desk now basically lives in our pocket. Like any healthy relationship, you need to be able to set boundaries or you may end up feeling overwhelmed. The simplest way to separate your personal and professional life is to physically have different devices for each purpose. This way you can power off the work phone when you are not at work. If this is not possible for whatever reason you can limit access by scheduling the "do not disturb" function.
At the end of the day, social media looks like it's here to stay, for a while. It's important for us as business people to recognize the useful tool that it is but also not give it too much power. Find the right cadence that you can commit to, seek out educational opportunities and find the right support for the tasks outside your capacity. There are so many positive and incredible things that can come from a fine-tuned and well executed social media strategy. Enjoy the process. Be playful with your content. Trust that you are attracting the right clients through inspired social.
Tyler Babiy is the owner and creative director of T Squared Social where he works with multiple local businesses to create social media content. With a formal education in fine arts and fashion design, he is also the driving force behind Social Made Local, a socially responsible apparel brand. When he is not working (which is rare) he can be found at the dog park, binge watching Netflix or enjoying a craft beer with friends at a local brewery.
Created by T Squared Social. We are a Saskatoon based social media agency with a focus on education, content creation and management. We love making great content and helping people with their social media.